Thursday 8 November 2012

New from Crime Wave Press: Mindfulness And Murder and Dead Sea |
Mindfulness and Murder by Nick Wilgus
Published 17th Oct

When a homeless boy living at the youth shelter run by a Buddhist monastery turns up dead, the abbot recruits Father Ananda, a monk and former police officer, to find out why. He discovers that all is not well at this urban monastery in the heart of Bangkok. Together with his dogged assistant, an orphaned boy named Jak, Father Ananda uncovers a startling series of clues that eventually expose the motivation behind the crime and lead him to the murderers. "Mindfulness and Murder" is the first in the Father Ananda murder-mystery series.

An award-winning movie based on Mindfulness and Murder was released in 2011 by DeWarenne Pictures in Bangkok and nominated for Best Screenplay by the Thailand National Films Awards 2012.

Praise for the Father Ananda series:

"A gripping read peppered with fascinating insights into the day to day life of a Buddhist monk. Nick Wilgus's Mindfulness and Murder puts a new spin on an old genre." -- UNTAMED TRAVEL MAGAZINE

"Wilgus ... has a good fix on temple boys, the precepts of Buddhism, the jaundiced eye with which the populace regards the constulabary, the vendors, the weather, the air pollution." -- BANGKOK POST on Garden of Hell

"Nick Wilgus' first novel is great. May Buddha protect Father Ananda and send him many other exciting adventures." Livres Hebdo
Nick Wilgus lived and worked in Asia for many years. His "Father Ananda" books have been translated into French, German, Spanish and Italian. An award-winning movie based on the first book, Mindfulness and Murder, was released in 2011. He is currently the editor for a small newspaper in Mississippi. |
Dead Sea by Sam Lopez
Published 18th Sept

Down and out Luke and high-class Tara, linked intimately by a violent incident in London’s seedy King’s Cross, run away to the Philippines to escape their sordid pasts. But the tropics can be unkind to kids on the lam. On a remote island in the South China Sea they soon face more trouble than they can handle – with each other and the local criminal elements. Only a mysterious Englishman with a luxurious dive boat can spring them from their new predicament, with an offer of high seas adventure that has to be too good to be true. But Luke and Tara are in no position to refuse…
Sam Lopez is the pseudonym of two well-travelled writers based in Britain who, for reasons best known to themselves, prefer to remain anonymous.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Darragh McManus interview: Even Flow

Even Flow is Darragh McManus’ first crime novel; a second, The Polka Dot Girl, will be published on January 25, 2013. He’s also released the comic novel Cold! Steel! Justice!!! as an e-book, under the name Alexander O’Hara. As a journalist he’s written for several papers, including the Guardian, Sunday Times and Irish Independent, for over a decade.

Can you sum up Even Flow in no more than 25 words?

An action-packed, cinematic and provocative thriller, set in NYC, about the 3W Gang: vigilantes who are bringing the pain to misogynists and homophobes.

What's unique about it?

I think the vigilantes themselves make it unique, for a few reasons. First, they’re inspired by feminism and gay rights, not the usual anti-crime or “bring down the system” stuff (admirable as those are). Secondly, they’re doing it out of a point of principle. These aren’t people who’ve been personally hurt, or seek vengeance: they’re inspired by a sense of fairness and justice, no different to Civil Rights marchers etc. Third, they’re pretty cool! They blend irony, humour, sarcasm, pop culture, high-brow culture, politics, feminism, post-modernism – and a willingness to use violence – into a sort of “vigilantism as performance art”. I wanted them to be an alternative to the clich√© of feminists as emasculated weirdoes, and gay rights activists as over-sensitive wimps. These guys are thoughtful and compassionate, but also brave and ruthless and ass-kicking. They’re sexy, witty, daring. Basically, they’re like the grunge/Generation X aesthetic made flesh – and made angry.

What are your expectations for the book?

To be honest, I haven’t got a clue what to expect. I’m long enough in the tooth to expect nothing…but hopeful/deluded enough to expect a lot. I think it’s the kind of book could either really strike a chord and sell very well, or totally tank. Don’t know if there’ll be a middle-ground. Either way, I expect some fairly strong reactions to its themes/contentions, both for and against. So, should make for interesting debate.

How important is talent?

It should be the only thing, really, but sadly it’s not; we don’t live in a meritocracy. I don’t mean it’s all cronyism and nepotism, but luck has an awfully big part to play in terms of success in this life. Why does one book catch fire and another not? Couldn’t tell you. For instance, in terms of crime fiction, Stieg Larsson (and with all due respect to the dead): poorish writer telling a sort-of diverting story that would make an alright afternoon TV drama. Whereas there are literally thousands of really well-written crime novels, telling great, fresh, inventive stories with skill and √©lan, and nobody’s ever going to read them.

Please provide a youtube link to a song you'd like to be the title track to the movie adaptation of your book.

Please sir, may I make it two? This for the opening credits, spliced with the opening scene: 

And this for the closing credits and (literally) title song: 

Who would you like to direct the film adaptation?

Ooh…I think Neil Jordan would make a good go of it. I think he’d “get” it, you know? Plus I really like his movies (although Ondine didn’t work for me at all). And he has form in vigilante material with The Brave One, which I thought was very underrated and quite powerful.

If you were able to co-write a novel with any author of your choosing, who would it be?

Don DeLillo, because the man is a god of writing, the greatest novelist I’ve ever read. Don’t think I’d be able to do any work, though! I’d just be pinching myself and gawping at him. “Holy shit, I’m sitting at a desk with Don DeLillo…”

What's the worst piece of craft advice you've heard?

I sent Cold! Steel! Justice!!!, a comic crime novel, to one genius of a literary agent, who referred me to another book on “the conventions of thriller writing”. I pointed out that, considering my book had a whole FIVE exclamation marks in the title and was about a deranged Irish-American mayor who planned to execute criminals on live TV, I would have thought it was fairly clear it was a spoof, and therefore not a “thriller” in any accepted sense. She didn’t reply. Depressingly, that’s a true story. I have the emails as proof.

What are you reading now?

My author copy of Even Flow – yes, I admit it, checking for typos; can’t help it, it’s the sub-editor in me. Also a collection of essays by Milan Kundera, an Ed McBain shortish novel as part of a set, and battling my way through One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn. Hard going, which is funny because I loved Gulag Archipelago – honestly – and flew through it.

What's the book you've recommended most to friends?

Probably Wild Palms by Bruce Wagner. Graphic novel from the early nineties. Oliver Stone made an apparently crappy TV series out of it – trying to cash in on the Twin Peaks phenomenon – but this book is fabulous. A menacing undertone bubbles throughout, a palpable sense of dread and panic. It’s a horribly vivid realisation of a hellish LA dream-world, which insists that life is always weirder and less comprehensible than we imagine.

Do you write outside of the crime genre? If not, would you like to?

I do, and I like to! As mentioned below, I’ve done a Young Adult book, currently out with an agent, and have ideas sketched for a possible sequel (or two!), plus three very different, standalone YA works. Also written some literary fiction – novel, short story collection – which were summarily rejected by the publishing world. Got a few nice comments, though. And I’ve had some stuff published in literary journals. At the moment actually I’m writing a Douglas Coupland-type book about a bunch of slackers in Cork city in the mid-90s. Nothing really happens, but it’s fun to watch it not happen.

What question would you most like to be asked in an interview? What's the answer to it?

“How does it feel to outsell Stephanie Meyer!” And I’d answer, in this magical dream-world, “Pretty goddamn fantastic, actually. JK Rowling – I’m coming for you…”

Do you have any other projects on the go?

Yes, another crime novel called Polka Dot Girl is being published in late January 2013. This is my spin on the Chandler-style noir mystery, with a unique twist: all the characters are female. I thought it would be interesting to take this macho environment, instantly recognisable to all of us, and make all the players women. So you have the iconic, almost stereotypical, noir characters – world-weary detective, self-destructive victim, femme fatale, psychotic killers, etc – and they’re women, every one. They act and talk like these characters always do – tenderly, violently, bitterly – but they’re women. There is an intriguing tension between the darkness and edge of noir, and the fact that the protagonists are female. Stylistically it’s probably more lyrical and reflective than hard-boiled. It is in part an homage to classic mystery fiction, but with its own aesthetic and distinctive voice. But it incorporates many of the elements of a classic noir: a shocking murder to open, a serpentine plot, unlikely coincidences, outlandish deeds and characters, a mystical-religious sub-plot, hints of a larger conspiracy. Chandler in lipstick and a dress!

I’ve also written a Young Adult urban fantasy novel, based on Irish mythology, which is currently with an agent. I will be ecstatically happy if she takes it on. I’ll say no more for now!

Monday 5 November 2012

Gary Carson interview: Hot Wire |
Can you sum up Hot Wire in no more than 25 words?
A female car thief steals the wrong car and finds herself the target of dark forces colliding over a sinister government conspiracy.
What's unique about it?
Hot Wire is a cross-genre suspense novel, a fusion of noir crime and political conspiracy thriller inspired by the mass paranoia and institutional corruption of 21st Century Amerika. A fast-moving and at times darkly comic story of hot cars, organized crime and black operations spiralling into chaos, the novel is narrated by one of the more unusual protagonists in crime fiction, the 19-year-old professional car thief, Emma Martin, aka "Little Bo Peep." An impulsive, scrawny little runt with glasses and a ponytail, Emma's worries about her job security lead her to jack the wrong car from the wrong people at just the wrong time, triggering a series of events that cascade to an explosive conclusion.
What are your expectations for the book?
Writing is a difficult racket to break into and I try to be as realistic about my chances as possible. Taking into account my own failings not only as a human being but as a writer, I figure that Hot Wire will probably be a huge commercial success and make me rich and famous. I expect the novel will be picked up by a major New York publisher and become a runaway bestseller translated into a dozen different languages. Like The Da Vinci Code, one of the masterpieces of modern literature, Hot Wire will be the focus of reading circles and book clubs around the world. Housewives will meet in their suburban living rooms to analyze the book and drool over my photograph on the back cover, and the novel will be optioned by HollyWeird after a frenzied bidding war that will drive the price into orbit. I will then purchase the last surviving Foo Fighter and retire to New Swabia in Antarctica where the lingerie model Kate Upton will tend to my basic physiological requirements.
What did you learn while writing it?
During the course of writing Hot Wire, I learned that 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, resulting in nearly eight years of content uploaded every day.
Do you bear the reader in mind while you're writing? If so, how does that affect the way you write?
Considering the fact that my only reader lives in the United States, I decided to write all of my books in English instead of my native language,  Gnomish. Also, since my reader is a member of the Church Of God With Signs And Wonders, a snake-handling cult in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I try to keep my language as clean as possible. If I'm compelled for artistic reasons to use particularly blasphemous or filthy words or phrases, I translate them into Spanish or Russian using Google. For example, instead of saying "Fuck a Jesus," a phrase I picked up from my bail bondsman, Charlie Brooker, I'll say mbwa instead. This baffles my reader and gives him the illusion that he's reading High Literature.
How important is talent?
Talent is over-rated and considering the quality of most of the dribble on sale in my local Barnes & Noble, completely unnecessary to the creative process. Writing is a craft like making a pipe bomb or using a Fleshlight and a writer has to master several basic skills that have diddly-squat to do with talent.
You have to be able to multitask, to work under pressure and ignore distractions. For example, a professional hack can write a three-way sex scene between two lesbian meter maids and an intelligent power drill while smoking a White Owl cigar and drinking a jug of Ripple wine with the Craig Ferguson show on TV and Ozric Tentacles blasting over the stereo, all with a headful of methylenedioxypyrovalerone.
To be productive, you have to know how to locate the browser icon on your computer and the snooze button on your radio-alarm clock, and you should have a basic knowledge of auto-erotica. And shoplifting skills are essential to be a successful writer. You should have enough knowledge of electronics to build your own EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) tag proximity deactivator and it's important to know that most people never pay any attention to anything that's going on around them. The best way to avoid capture is to deactivate those tags, then wheel your loaded shopping cart out the door like you own it.
Nobody will notice. Guaranteed.
What's the worst piece of craft advice you've heard?
Don't get me started on this. Most writing advice is worthless, especially the swill you get in college "writer's workshops" where a bunch of  iGeneration douche-bags sit around in a circle and criticize each other's work while the professor sits behind his desk, playing with himself. After all, if the douche-bags knew anything about writing, they wouldn't be taking a class to learn about writing, would they? And the gibberish found in most writing-craft books in your local book barn isn't much better.
There's so much bad advice floating around that it's hard to pick the worst, but "write what you know" has to be in the Top Ten. If everyone followed that piece of wisdom, we could eliminate most science fiction, murder mysteries, crime novels, thrillers, horror stories and historical fiction, just to name a few categories. All we'd have left would be books about writers drinking too much, arguing with their teenage children, going to work for insurance companies and sacrificing cheerleaders to Cthulhu in the middle of the night.
"Write a draft, then give it to a friend who can review it and advise you." 
Mbwa. I don't know about you, but most of my friends are illiterate hillbillies who don't know jack about writing and don't even read. In fact, the only person I know who reads anything runs a small-town beauty salon and likes "Inspirational Romances." Once I mentioned to an old hippy friend that I was writing a novel and he said "Oh, you want to be the next Tom Robbins." The guy hadn't cracked a book since he read the Cliff Notes version of Even Cowgirls Get The Blues back in 1976.
There seem to be two schools of writing: "important" literary academic bilge that focuses on language and "irony," and commercial fiction written by actual writers who are trying to make a living. The literary crap is surrounded by a smog of platitudes about "muses" and "cultural significance" and "finding your inner voice" that reeks of motivational seminars and self-help manuals. For instance, I read one article that advised writers to "honor the miraculousness of the ordinary," whatever the hell that means. But the worst advice I've stumbled onto recently goes like this:
"Remember: writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others and pass it on."
In the real world, the writing business works like this:
Put these in order of importance: language, character, plot, money.


To what extent do you view writing as a business?

Writing is strictly a business as far as I'm concerned. My heroes are the old pulp writers who cranked out thousands of books under various pseudonyms at two cents a word in order to pay the rent. Guys like Erle Stanley Gardner, for instance. The ultimate hack, he dictated all of his Perry Mason novels on an ancient dictaphone while lying around on a couch at his ranch in Temecula, California. He produced dozens of paperbacks every year, employed a small army of secretaries to transcribe his stuff and was one of the most successful novelists in the world at one time. Now, that's what I call a business. Unfortunately, I have a hard time seeing myself as a business since businesses are supposed to make money. If this was 1930, I don't think I'd have this problem.

Saturday 3 November 2012

New from Dutton Guilt Edged: The Devil Doesn't Want Me and Noir(ish) |
The Devil Doesn't Want Me by Eric Beetner
Pubished 23rd October

A hit man with a crisis of conscience faces his biggest challenge yet: protecting an innocent victim against deadly forces during a desperate run for the coast in Eric Beetner's thrilling novel.

For the last seventeen years, Lars has been on a job for a prominent East Coast crime family. His task: kill Mitch the Snitch. Mitch is living in witness protection and has eluded Lars for almost two decades. But changes are afoot in the family back east, and a young gun named Trent has been sent to replace the aging gun for hire.

With his old boss gone, Lars realizes he has lost the desire to kill his long-time target. When things come to a head with Trent, Lars must go on the run with Mitch's teenage daughter Shaine, trying to stay one step ahead of angry and vengeful mobsters as well as his own dark past.

With Trent, FBI agents, and even more hired muscle on their trail, Lars and his new sidekick must stay one step ahead of their pursuers by any means necessary, creating a cross country trail of wreckage and mayhem from Albuquerque to L.A. |
Noir(ish) by Evan Guilford-Blake
Published September 18th

An entertaining foray into the dark world of film and fiction noir—with a detour into the realm of the fantastic—by Evan Guilford-Blake.

It’s Los Angeles. June, 1947. In the wake of mobster Bugsy Siegel’s violent murder, Private Investigator Robert Grahame is confronted with a case unlike anything he’s ever faced before. Lizabeth Duryea, a stunning yet peculiar young woman, hires Grahame to find her brother, Dan Scott, and leaves him with a small, mysterious package for safekeeping. But Grahame’s investigation becomes much more complicated when another mob big shot gets an anonymous tip that Grahame killed Siegel and hid the evidence in his office.

With the help of LAPD’s only female detective, Lauren Stanwyck, Grahame tries to discern the truth behind his mysterious client’s improbable story and find out who really killed Bugsy Siegel—haunted by his lost love at every step. As he stares into the face of his own cloudy past and the face of the fantastic, Grahame--in the classic noir tradition--is tempted by a femme fatale, followed by a shadowy figure, beaten up, accused of murder, and threatened. Ultimately, he uncovers a most unexpected plot, one which jeopardizes his way of life and puts him in mortal danger.